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Black Anvil - As Was (2017) - Review

Band: Black Anvil
Album title: As Was
Release date: 13 January 2017
Label: Relapse Records

01. On Forgotten Ways
02. May Her Wrath Be Just
03. As Was
04. Nothing
05. As An Elder Learned Anew
06. Two Keys: Here’s The Lock
07. The Way Of All Flesh
08. Ultra

"We must feel unworthy
Yet trust the hand that feeds
Terminate this hunger
And solve this life's disease"

Black Anvil, a proper black metal phenomena was formed in 2007 in New York and released their debut album named Time Insults The Mind one year later. Later on, in 2010, album named Triumvirate followed and in 2014 a darker, deeper, showing a natural progression, Hail Death saw the light of the day. Now the band is ready to unleash their ultimate masterpiece named As Was!
What makes this album unique and quite sophisticated at he same time are complex solos and amazing riffs that have now become a part of the band's style. Extreme dexterity, coordination and speed are in perfect synchronization, as well the masterful balance between instruments and vocals just shows of what kind of dough this band is made from. The strong, sometimes shrieking and on other times guttural voice shares its space with clean and sweet voice, yet with kind of subtle melancholy that comes inherited inside the songs the band nicely express the transcendence of lyrics. This kind of "filtering" provides an unique beauty to this style. Undoubtedly on this album you can feel that the original black metal style of the band left its childhood and entered into adulthood. Keeping only what really matters. Also mixed with the basic style comes kind of a traditional heavy metal, and you can also easily notice that the roots of the members lie in the remaining touches of hardcore that could not be missed and this are just some of unique characteristics of Black Anvil.

I can easily say that the style demonstrated on this album clearly shows that the band has grown and now everything is done with mastery. Black Anvil might be a proper introduction of what is progressive black metal. Paul Delaney, the frontman, always wished to create something what shows us the inner self of the band. Something slim yet not superficial. Their roots and what they're able to do in terms of aggregate styles creating a progressive dark style is something totally new. Gary Bennett who has played with Delaney in many projects has left the band to dedicate himself to Kill Your Idols (a hardcore punk band). But Travis Bacon is a new breath to the band and his shift in his playing style is just amazingly professional.

The first track on the album, "On Forgotten Ways", might sound in the beginning for some unsuspecting souls like a melodic death metal. Make no mistake, at the time of 1:56 starts the traditional guttural voice allied to a cleaner voice. Already this first song shows for what the band came for. From the very beginning it shows the differentiated proposal of everything that you were accustomed until now. The second track, "Nothing", is a well polished strong black metal with typical lyrics for the style. “The Way Of All Flesh” has a beautiful sound that invites us on a journey of inner self-discovery; it's without any doubt one of the most appealing songs up here for me. Even though that I prefer heavier sound of theirs, Black Anvil shows the light side in such an astonishing way and only few bands have this kind of ability to draw me to a sweeter and more subjective side of consciousness.

"Ultra", the last track, it's in a sequence with "The Way Of All Flesh". It is using the same guitar riff in the beginning, the change that follows is subtle and pleasurable. Brilliant mixing of instrumentals that travel between rhythms. A hymn of hope, dedication and praise., The glorification of  the inner entity that inhabits in all of us. Much appreciated by me, a Left Hand Path follower. Great musicians, dedicated lovers of their art, years of road, could only give us such a unique work that will only bring pleasure to all of you!

My words for the band: All of you already had inherited everlastingness through your art. What you are reaching through your music is a state of consciousness that transcends the conventional, and let's say, a conventional that is still believed alternative. Renewal and change are necessary, but you are one of rare musicians to achieve this level of musical excellence. So never forget, "Potentia est in intellectu. Nos operor in subtilis regni. Ave omnibus vobis!

Review written by: Felin Frost
Rating: 10/10